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Old 09-22-2013, 07:30 PM   #1
BarbinDallas
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Question Newbie Here - Tasting 1st Batch?

Hi everyone,

I have been reading all of your posts these last three days, and I am learning a lot. So glad to have found y'all!

Quick question: I am on the 6th day of my very first batch. The various sources I have read said that you can slip a straw under the edge of the SCOBY baby and taste for readiness. I had lots of bubbles gathering, so thought I should taste test.

First, it is still very sweet, so I should let it sit at least 3+ more days before tasting again, yes?

But, now the edge of the baby (which is about 1/8" thick) is bent where the straw went between it and the jar, and no longer seals the brew below. (The mother has always sat crumpled at the bottom, but is growing nice threads, which I think are yeast that seems to be right?)

Is this gap in seal of the baby scoby going to be an issue?

Thanks for any guidance!

Barb in Dallas



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Old 09-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbinDallas View Post
First, it is still very sweet, so I should let it sit at least 3+ more days before tasting again, yes?

But, now the edge of the baby (which is about 1/8" thick) is bent where the straw went between it and the jar, and no longer seals the brew below. (The mother has always sat crumpled at the bottom, but is growing nice threads, which I think are yeast that seems to be right?)

Is this gap in seal of the baby scoby going to be an issue?
If the brew is still sweet then it is not done.

Yes the brown threads are from the yeast.

The gap is not an issue, the baby will seal it back up as it goes.

What is the temperature of the solution and the location it is kept in?


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Old 09-26-2013, 09:07 AM   #3
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Hi, thanks for writing!

Ambient temp is 77°F and it is on kitchen counter. Completely undisturbed until the 1st taste test.

It is a total of 1 gallon in a 1.5 gallon wide glass jar (jar is wider than it is tall). It is covered with cloth provided from the kit I bought. It grew the baby quickly, but no further growth. Three days after the taste test, the baby has not even begun to reform over the open liquid

I have kept the sides of the vessel loosely covered with a dark kitchen towel to keep drafts off of it -- maybe that is TOO dark? There is no mold. I used just one SCOBY.

Kitchen cooking: we have cooked eggs once since we started brewing, so I don't think we are subjecting it to kitchen grease/oils and heat.

By contrast, I started a continuous brew about 4' away with TWO scobys. It was perfectly done in 5 days.

I am happy to keep everything in there, if more time is what it needs.

And I have been talking to it with sweet words of encouragement

Thanks again!

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Old 09-26-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
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That sounds like you're going to have a pretty wide scoby! lol
Don't worry about being dark, dark is perfectly fine. Indirect sunlight is fine too. You may have some problems with direct sunlight though, especially in direct afternoon sun.
However, you do want good airflow over the mouth of the jar.

One scoby is fine, but it sounds like you have a lot of surface area to cover. Just be patient, it knows how to do what it does. If it doesn't fill in the gap before you harvest, don't worry about it, it's not going to affect anything. I drew 10ml samples from (3) of my jars last night and they're all turned down a tad like that.

I've had 5 jars going in my kitchen ~5' from the stove, and haven't had any trouble with them. I don't cook anything with a really strong fragrance, and haven't burnt anything lately, so none of my batches have picked up any unwanted flavors. You could put it in a cabinet or pantry if you were worried about it.

It is possible that your jar is out of balance. If the yeast has retarded or died it will not convert the sugar. If you used too much sugar, it could be asleep/comatose. Look up the Crabtree Effect. You know how you feel after you eat WAY too much on Thanksgiving? You can do that to the yeast. If the yeast aren't processing the sugar, then there won't be alcohol for the bacteria to process.

Here's what I would try. Since you know the continuous brew is good, take a portion from the CB and add it to the jar. 250ml should be good, but feel free to use more if you want. Take the donor fluid from halfway down the CB. The dead yeast collects at the bottom, and the top will have more of the bacteria.
The more active fluid you add the less time you'll have to wait. But remember, the bacteria can't work until the yeast does. Don't sell the batch short just because it's not sweet anymore. That doesn't necessarily mean the bacteria are done. It should be a little sour with a hint of vinegar. Unless you like it a little more "green" lol then harvest whenever you like. If you want the beneficial components, it needs to sit a while longer after the sweet ends.

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Old 09-26-2013, 10:41 PM   #5
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kyt, you are a treasure!

I just drew off seven 16 oz. bottles from the continuous brew, so tomorrow I will probably have enough fermented to donate some to the batch on the counter.

The batch is still pretty sweet, and I hope this will give it a kick in its what-sis.

The CB has been amazing, and I am tickled to death!

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Old 09-27-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
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If your CB takes ~5-days, then you might want to consider waiting the 5-days before drawing donor fluids. Otherwise you'll just be adding new sweet tea to sweet tea. Right now the CB is diluted. That's not productive.

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Old 09-28-2013, 01:40 PM   #7
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Ooops -- too late! Oh well, we shall see what happens. I can just let it sit and stew -- er, brew

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Old 10-02-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyt View Post
If your CB takes ~5-days, then you might want to consider waiting the 5-days before drawing donor fluids. Otherwise you'll just be adding new sweet tea to sweet tea. Right now the CB is diluted. That's not productive.
Hi kyt,

Just wanted you to know that your advice really got my batch going again -- even though I jumped the gun a little. It has formed a nice new scoby over the area where I bent the original baby, and the yeast strings are growing off that, too.

I think I may use the CB as my daily system, and I had put both scobys in it that were included with the CB crock. That one seems to brew in 5-7 days (but it is fairly warm here now -- will see what winter brings).

I am thinking of putting the batch scoby into a scoby hotel, and taking the KT that is brewing in there into the CB to finish it off. Thoughts?

Barb
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:59 PM   #9
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Hey BarbinDallas, that's great news!

You can expect the CB to slow a little when the ambient temperatures drop. Unless you keep it cold in the summer and hot in the winter. lol That's how it goes in our house usually.

You can totally put the batch into the CB. If it's done you could do a 2nd ferment with it instead of bottle it.
How does a pumpkin spice 2nd ferment sound?
http://www.culturesforhealth.com/pumpkin-spice-kombucha

Alternatively, you could make the batch a scoby hotel.
Or use the batch container for experimentation. Maybe try a different type of sugar, or different flavor of tea! You'll want to test anything new before you commit it to the CB anyway.

Last night I needed to remove some liquid from one of my big jars, I had overfilled it and the SCOBY was trying to escape!
I had an empty pickle jar, one of the short fat ones, that was done so I siphoned the extra into it and tried out a very black tea blend I had with some coconut nectar sugar I picked up the other day. It is VERY dark. I didn't put a scoby in it, I wanted to know if one would even grow in this mixture before I tried it in greater volume.

There are many different kinds of sugar you can use, and nearly limitless combinations of tea to try!

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Old 10-03-2013, 08:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
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You can totally put the batch into the CB. If it's done you could do a 2nd ferment with it instead of bottle it.
How does a pumpkin spice 2nd ferment sound?
http://www.culturesforhealth.com/pumpkin-spice-kombucha
Kyt, that sounds like a grand idea! I wish I knew about this before I bottled this week. But better that I didn't as I'm still trying to find the right bottling time.

Could someone define the abbreviations like CB and KT that I see? And maybe any others you can think of that I might see on this forum haha?

Im glad to have found this forum to increase my knowledge on Kombucha. Thanks everyone!


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